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Published: Wednesday, 3/23/2005

Swanton: Requiring address postings considered


Village officials are pondering requiring residents to post an easy-to-read address on their residences.

Some structures don't have addresses posted and that's a problem for emergency personnel responding to calls.

Firefighters are having a hard time locating some homes where no numbers are posted, said Jon Gochenour, village administrator.

James Bushong, chairman of council's safety committee, said he would talk to the fire and police chiefs about ways to remedy the problem.

Houses in wooded areas and homes built back long lanes can be difficult to find, particularly at night, officials said. Some communities in Fulton County, including Archbold and Wauseon, have laws requiring residents to display house numbers. Violators typically aren't hauled in to court, but officials said that residents are contacted to remind them about the law.

Archbold Police Chief Martin Schmidt said police have knocked on doors to let residents know about the ordinance and the need to put up the numbers.

All address numbers in Wauseon must be properly displayed, and the numbers need to be at least 3 inches in height and made of durable, clearly visible material. Wauseon's ordinance, on the books since 1989, spells out requirements for placement of the numbers, said Tom Hall, code administrator. Numbers must be displayed so that they can be plainly seen from the street.

Violators can face minor misdemeanor charges, but nobody has been charged. Letters are sent or telephone calls made to property owners who fail to post the numbers.

Steve Brown, Fulton County regional planning director, said the planning commission has discussed the need for a countywide system for the display of address numbers.

"I would like to see it uniform throughout the county," he said, such as requiring green and white reflective signs on all houses. "It's a big issue with fire departments. I think a countywide system would be good," he said.

Amboy Township recently adopted a policy that requires property owners to pay $10 when they obtain a zoning permit for new homes. The fee covers the cost for the fire department to make address signs that the homeowners must display, Mr. Brown said.

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